With its rich literary history, landmark architecture and vibrant pub culture, Ireland’s capital has plenty to entice visitors to its shores, but with prices on par with the rest of Western Europe, a trip to Dublin can soon run up a hefty bill. Don’t be put off if you’re on a budget, though; with some careful planning, a little money can go a long way. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1) Plan ahead
A number of discount cards are available to visitors, the biggest of which is the Dublin Pass, a good buy for those spending a few days in the city, offering free airport transfer and Dublin hop-on hop-off tour bus tickets as well as entrance to many of the city’s key attractions. If you’re planning on heading out of town, the Heritage-card offers discounted entry to state-owned sites like Newgrange and Glendalough, across the country.
2) Take advantage of free attractions
If you’re on a tight budget, Dublin is full of free attractions to enjoy without spending a penny. Many of the city’s best museums, including the Natural History Museum and the National Museum, offer free entry and literature fans can browse the city’s wide range of atmospheric bookstores. Alternatively, explore the cities green spaces – the pretty Phoenix Park is home to some beautiful stately homes, the impressive Ashtown castle and herds of wild deer. Another great walk is along the Liffey Broadwalk, or take a Liffey River cruise for views of the Christ Church Cathedral.
3) Watch your drinking budget
You can’t visit Dublin without sampling the local brew, but a few nights out in the city can easily blow the budget. Avoid organized pub-crawls that often work out being vastly overpriced and head to local pubs less frequented by tourists for the cheapest prices. Keep a look out for happy hours around the popular Temple Bar area, but don’t be fooled by so-called ‘freebies’ – set yourself a strict spending limit and stick to it! Thankfully, drinking like a local has its advantages, too; stick to pints of Guinness and you’ll likely only be able to manage a few – the hearty beverage is more like a meal than a drink.
4) Put your savings to good use
With the money you’ve saved in the city, you’ll be able to splash out on a few out of town trips, but even if you can’t afford a tour to the Cliffs of Moher or Glendalough there are plenty of close-by attractions that are easily reached by public transport. Take the train to Howth, where you can enjoy seal spotting and stunning views from the cliff top walkways, or head to the coastal village of Sandycove, where a stroll along the promenade leads to the James Joyce Martello tower and museum. The seaside towns of Dalkey and Bray are also worth a visit with some great coastal walks and pubs with a beach view.